Day 179 Question 179:
What is sentimental to you? When you look back later in life what will you remember the most?
Yesterday was one of those days that will be locked into my memory bank. My previous entry mentioned a dear friend of mine that was leaving the country to move back to Guatemala (his home land). He received devastating news the night before last and knew immediately he had to return to his family. The restaurant staff where we all work feared that the drug cartel had hurt or worse, killed his family. Very luckily, this was not the case. There was still very sad news. My friend has now lived in the United States for almost five years. He has been away from his family this entire time and his family included a wife, 3 children, a mother and a whole lot of brothers and sisters. His young daughter (10 years old) called him the night before last and asked if her daddy could come home to see mommy before she leaves to be with the angels. My friend’s wife has been battling with a heart condition for quite some time. The condition was regulated with medications and everything seemed to be working well until she took a turn for the worst and a few days ago her body started to shut down. She became paralyzed and was lying in bed having chronic nose bleeds. The doctor’s gave her about 3 days to live….she is only 29 years old (give or take a year or two-I am not 100% sure). My friend was completely heart-broken and all of us around him experienced the same pain. This person is not only our friend…he has become family to all of us. We all felt broken-hearted to lose this piece of our family and we all ached knowing the sadness he is experiencing.
Last night, all of the staff of the restaurant (even those that had not been working yesterday) came together for one last time to bid our dead friend farewell. He left this morning around 6am and should be arriving in Guatemala to be with his family sometime this afternoon. I made sure to take the time to go down to the restaurant to see him. We gathered together as the big family that we all are and took a whole bunch of pictures together….this was a moment I will not forget because all of those things in life that we all take for granted were lost in that moment. My manager surprised our friend with a digital camera and told him to take lots and lots of pictures and to celebrate his life and his family in Guatemala. My friend shed tears the entire night which make my heart sink but I knew he needed to leave to be with his family…the family that he has known his entire life. When it came time for me to say goodbye, we stood in the bar area of the restaurant and I wrapped my arms around him tight. I told him I would miss him so very much and that the restaurant would not be the same without him but I was so happy that he was able to be with his family….he had been missing them terribly. I held his face in my hands as he cried and in his thick Mexican accent he told me I was his family. I held back the tears as hard as it was. I told him he was my family too but right now he needed to be with his real family. I told him I would always be his friend and wanted to stay in contact for as long as we possibly can. I thanked him for teaching me so much about his native country and for showing me how to open my eyes to a much bigger world outside of just my own. He was a teacher for me and he didn’t even know it. I became more aware of myself because of knowing him….I learned a lot about what is truly important…and what is truly important (to me) is learning about and loving everyone around you. This world is such a big place and for a long time I closed myself into a big little box and lived in a very blind and ignorant way….my friend showed me what the love of family is like and how beautiful a country that has so little can really be…he showed me the value of friendship.
I hope to see my friend again in the future if that is at all possible. For now, I am left with a sentimental feeling in my heart. I hope his sadness is only short-lived and he has the love and support of his biological family the same way he did from his second family at the restaurant.
I chose this topic today because I have been thinking so much about the relationships in my life and how much my desire to give back is getting stronger and stronger the older that I get. I spent time with my mom yesterday and every time I am around here I appreciate her just a little bit more. I believe she feels the same about me. She was talking about all of her friends that my dad and her play Bingo and cards with and I asked her who her best friend is and she turned to me and said, “You!” She meant it to. My mom and I have this very special bond and as I have grown into an adult she has become my best friend too. I have such great admiration for her because of how selfless she is and watching her be that way just makes me want to be that way. I believe I have been given enough in my life and now is my time to give back. The times I get to spend with these people that I love so dearly are the sentimental moments I know I will hold onto for life. They are the moments and the people that matter the most.